Esquites – Mexican Street Corn Salad

Esquites (or ezquites) (or troles or trolelotes in Northern Mexico) is a Mexican snack or antojito. Shops and market stalls selling corn also tend to sell Esquites. Festival and fair stalls may sell them too. The word esquites comes from the Nahuatl word ízquitl, which means “toasted corn”.

In one recipe, the grains of corn are first boiled in salted water. Then they are sauteed in butter with onions, chopped pequin chillies, epazote and salt. It is served hot, in small cups and topped with varying combinations of lime juice, chilli powder or hot sauce, salt and mayonnaise.

Esquites - Mexican Street Corn Salad
This simple and delicious corn recipe is very popular in Mexico and is often sold by street vendors. Make some Esquites at home as a delicious side dish for your favourite Mexican main dish.
Cuisine: Mexican
Recipe type: Street Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen yellow corn, thawed if frozen (from about 6 ears)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small hot pepper (such as jalapeño or red chilli), seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese, plus more for garnishing
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons chilli powder
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt, to taste
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil on medium-high until shimmering. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is toasted and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the toasted corn mixture with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings, adding more of your preferred flavours, if desired. Serve at room temperature with additional cotija cheese.

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